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Posts Tagged ‘tourist visa thailand’

27th June 2009

There have been some interesting developments regarding the Thai Tourist visa. Recently the Thai government authorities and Royal Thai Immigration announced that they would extend the free tourist visa program. This initiative was designed to spur tourism to Thailand which has been a sector of the economy that was hard-hit by the airport closures in late 2008, government instability at the beginning of 2009, the Asean summit cancellation, the  Songkran disturbances, and the worldwide economic distress. A recent statistic published in Thailand has stated that Tourism in Thailand has decreased by 50% year-on-year, for a country heavily dependent upon foreign tourist currency this finding was disconcerting. By providing free tourist visas the Thai government hopes recreational travel to Thailand will increase.

The free tourist visa program would seem to be just one pillar of Thailand’s long term Immigration program. It would seem that Thai Immigration Authorities want to ween foreigners off of the Thai visa exemption and onto the use of Thai visas. Many foreigners are under the mistaken impression that when they are stamped through the immigration counter at the airport in Thailand, they are provided with a 30 day visa. In reality, the stamp for a person entering without a visa is a 30 day visa exemption. This stamp allows a non-Thai national to remain in Thailand without a visa for the time period stipulated on the foreigner’s passport (currently 30 days at the airport and 15 days at land border immigration checkpoints).

At one time, foreigners were able to remain in Thailand for a nearly indefinite period so long as they made a “visa run” every 30 days to renew their exemption stamp. The authorities issuing Thai visas first put a stop to this practice approximately 3 years ago when they mandated that a person was only entitled to visa exemptions for 90 out of every 180 days. Approximately 6 months ago, the Immigration authorities again changed the regulations. Currently, 15 day visa exemptions will be granted to foreigners at the land border and 30 days will be granted at the airport.  Further, those using visa exemption stamps at a land border will only be able to get 4 consecutive 15 day stamps.

This change of policy has created the necessity for longer term visas. Currently the Thai government is providing free Tourist visas to those who wish to travel to Thailand. The visa has a validity of 60 days, but one can travel to the Thai Immigration office in Thailand and, for an extra fee, one can extend the visa for an extra 30 days intra-country.  Another option is the “double entry” Thai tourist visa. this has a double validity for 60 days (with extendability) and if used properly can confer lawful status to a foreigner in Thailand for 6 months.

Apparently, the free tourist visa scheme is not being well received by some of Thailand’s honorary consulates around the globe, because these posts make a substantial portion of their revenue from Tourist visas. According to government officials in Thailand, these posts will receive reimbursement for the free visas they issue. The free visa promotion does not affect the price of the Thailand Business visa, Thailand O Visa, or the Thailand Retirement Visa.

For information on a related topic please see: US Tourist Visa

(This post is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between reader and author.)

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24th April 2009

An extremely popular question asked by those seeking to bring a loved one to the United States from Thailand revolves around whether it is possible to obtain a tourist visa from the US Embassy in Bangkok. The crux of the problem with tourist visas comes down to an inability of most applicants to overcome the consular officer’s presumption of immigrant intent.

Tourist Visas and Immigrant Intent

Under section 214 (b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, a consular officer at a diplomatic post is required to presume that all applicants for a non-immigrant visa actually are intending immigrants. In order for an applicant to overcome this presumption, they must produce evidence which denotes that the applicant has a compelling reason to return to Thailand after visiting the United States. Evidence of a compelling reason to return to Thailand includes: Employment in Thailand at a high salary (the salary itself is not so much of likely interest to a consular officer per se, but the fact that a high salary is not something most people abandon), strong family ties to the Kingdom,  and investments in Thailand that are difficult to abandon (real property, small business, etc.). This list is not exhaustive, but is simply intended to give an idea of what consular officers are looking for when determining whether an applicant has overcome the presumption of immigrant intent.

Is a US boyfriend or husband a “poison pill,” for a Thai’s US Tourist Visa Application?

Some people believe that the presence of an American as the Thai’s primary partner in a relationship causes an automatic denial of a tourist visa application. The author does not believe this to be the case. Instead, where the Thai applicant has an American significant other, the applicant must still show that they overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. The difference when there is an American present comes down to showing that the couple is not utilizing a tourist visa to circumvent the conventional method for immigrating to the US by entering on a tourist visa and attempting to regularize status and obtain permanent residence. Put simply, the couple needs to show that they are using the visa for its legitimate purpose: tourism.

If a K1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, why can a Thai fiancee remain in the USA on it?

In a way, the K1 Visa is a fusion of elements of both the non-immigrant and immigrant visas. The visa allows the Thai fiance to enter the US for 90 days for the sole purpose of marriage to a US Citizen and adjustment of status in order to remain in the USA. The visa was created to allow couples the opportunity to see if a marriage will work and if the couple decides that it will, then status adjustment is permitted. So the visa is non-immigrant insofar as it has a definitive expiration date, but if the K1 visa holder complies with the visa and decides to marry stateside, then they can remain in the USA with a minimum amount of legal difficulty.

Please note: None of the above should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship nor should be used in lieu of legal advice from a competent licensed attorney

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